An iconic vacation destination that is situated in the Bay Area, San Francisco is home to sprawling beaches, the famous Golden Gate Bridge, a booming wine industry, and has a culture that celebrates diversity and welcomes people from all walks of life. This city has deep historic ties to the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s and served as an outpost for those heading to the American River in hopes of striking it rich. San Francisco has attractions that appeal to every taste. Whether you are looking to enjoy a vacation that is packed full of luxury, fun and excitement or rest and relaxation, be sure to keep these amazing attractions on your radar:
Once home to notorious criminals such as Al Capone, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, and Robert Franklin Stroud, Alcatraz Island served as the most secure federal prison in America during its time in the early 1900s. Before its prison years, it once served as a military fort, where you can still see the etchings of battle on the rock front cliffs. Alcatraz Island is open for day and night time tours and is only a quick 15-minute ferry ride from downtown San Francisco. Once you arrive at the island, you can check out native wildlife and vegetation and take a tour of the cell blocks and various other buildings of the prison.
Gold Rush Trail
Walk in the footsteps of settlers who once braved the journey west in search for gold on the Gold Rush Trail of San Francisco. This is a beautiful outdoor adventure where you can explore the coast and inland areas of the city and get some exercise at the same time. You can start your own personal journey out at the Ferry Plaza, admiring the historic buildings that were constructed to support the "gold fever" of the period. After this, hike through the woods and check out old infrastructures and interesting artifacts along the way. There is even a museum where you can learn about those who made it big and those who sacrificed their lives trying.
No trip to San Francisco is complete without visiting the waterfront, and Pier 39 is a headliner attraction that does not disappoint. Pier 39 is filled with a wide variety of unique shops and boutiques that cater to fashionistas, art lovers, gift seekers, and collectors. There are also plenty of tantalizing restaurants at every price point that specialize in ethnic foods, seafood, surf and turf, and more. It is also a one-stop wine shopping center for blends from all over the water. Check out the shoreline, where you will find hundreds, if not thousands, of sea ions soaking in the California sunshine.
Winchester Mystery House
For those who love all things unusual or are fans of Winchester rifles, the Winchester Mystery House is the destination for you. It was the last home of the Winchester Rifle Company heiress Sarah Winchester and it took most of her adult life to build. This home turned history museum is filled with secret passageways, false doors, stairs to nowhere, and rooms that do not make any sense. Sarah Winchester believed that she was haunted by those who died at the hands of her family's guns and constructed what she considered to be passages to the other side for the spirits so they would let her be at peace. This remarkable house is open for tours by reservation and provides hours of fun for all who dare to get lost inside.
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
A historic spectacle that was built to support the World Fair of 1915, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre boasts an ornate Greek facade and is adorned in luxury European furnishings. It is a picture-perfect paradise that features a gigantic lagoon out front. You can relax and unwind in the courtyard while taking in natural beauty and the theatre in the backdrop. This venue features live concerts, art shows, and live theatrical performances all year long. Be sure to check out what is going on while you are in town.
San Francisco is an artistic city that rolls out the red carpet for all who visit. From nature walks to trolley rides through downtown, there is an adventure for everyone. Plan to stay a while so you can take in all of the artistic features, historical attractions, world class food, fine wines, and beautiful sites.